What is unit pricing?

Okay I have received some questions regarding my mythical $1000/month budget.

The most questions I received are: “Why are food and gasoline variable expenses?” It is because I can directly control how much I spend on these items. I can choose to drive less. I can choose to eat less.

One of the keys to successful budgeting, is predicting the cost. Which means you probably need to make grocery shopping lists, BEFORE you go to the grocery store. Another tip: eat BEFORE you go to the grocery store. You will buy less impulse items, which can wreak havoc on budget.

Let’s talk a bit about unit pricing. It is NOT always the lowest price you are looking for, you are looking for the BEST value. Unit pricing allows us to compare apples to apples sort of speak. What is it?


For example. A dozen (12) eggs might cost $1.86. So the unit cost would be $1.86/12 = .155 — or 15 1/2 cents a piece.

18 eggs might cost $2.25. Okay the dozen eggs DO have a cheaper price. But what about our 18 eggs?

Well, $2.25/18 = .125 or 12 1/2 cents per egg. So, buying 18 eggs, instead of a dozen eggs, saves 3 cents/egg. I know this may seems trivial, but like my Dad always said:

Worry about the nickels and dimes. The dollars will take care of themselves.

It’s about value. And that is NOT always the lowest price. You can compare 2 boxes of cereal, (cost/ounces) or milk (cost/ounces). Sometimes it is cheaper to buy 2 half gallons of milk, then to buy a whole gallon. Do super markets do this? YUP!

So let’s talk about stretching those dollars. What to buy? Staple food items:





Peanut Butter



Some fresh fruit you like: (Apples, bananas, whatever)

ALWAYS check unit price, to make sure you are getting a good value, and you are on budget.

One of the biggest complaints I hear is: well I can’t do long division in my head. Bring a calculator. I am getting older, and can not always figure it out either. Using a calculator makes it easy. Yup, some people use pen and paper to figure unit cost. Whatever works — DO IT! I usually estimate my bill in my head, and I am usually within a few dollars of the budgeted amount.

This does require pre-planning, and the D word: Discipline.

In the next post, I will talk about some of the other items in our budget.